A Hero's Journey: Part Nine
Reuben and Rohane stared off out the window after the disappearing
shape of Bernard and Fidelity as they soared back the way they came. Whether they
would return to Trestin with more terrible news was a mystery, but the siblings
had no time to wonder about that.
"Father…is gone," choked the white Blumaroo,
shaking his younger brother by the shoulders.
"I know," he replied grimly, burying his face
in his right paw and shaking his head in disbelief. "But Mother said that Bernard
never lies, especially not to his friend's family. Besides, it makes sense -
the reason why we didn't hear from him in a long time."
"Look at her," said the elder sibling, pointing
to Melissa's direction. The two were filled with even more misery at the sight
of their mother sobbing away on the table, next to their father's sword. Her
head was upon her shoulders, and she was shaking with seemingly endless sobs.
Rohane nodded over to Reuben, and the pair went over to try and comfort their
However, their efforts were futile, as they themselves
were devastated upon the loss of Sir Reynold. Who would teach them to become
good knights, and who would entertain them with tales of his escapades? Their
father was so important and so close to them that the brothers found themselves
crying with their mother as well. They weren't even in the mood to pick up their
wooden swords and resume their practice. For several minutes they just sat there,
weeping together and feeling the blade that had served him well, even till his
Melissa staggered towards the table, clutching
a tureen of pea soup. As she placed it on the top in front of her tearstained
sons, the white Blumaroo leaned against one of the posts in the house and buried
her face again. Even from quite a distance, Reuben and Rohane could hear her
cry as she walked into her bedroom, for some strange reason. They heard the
slight creak of the age-old mattress and realized that she must have wanted
to go to bed early.
"Poor Mother," whispered the yellow Blumaroo,
staring down into his empty bowl before reaching for the ladle.
"I know," said his older brother. "I mean, I
bet she and Father were really good friends. I've never seen her really sad,
and I've known her all my life."
"Me neither," he agreed. They felt half-guilty
beginning the dinner without Melissa, but their hungry stomachs got the better
of them, and they began anyway. At first, they started what seemed to be the
quietest meal of their entire lives, but halfway through the meal, they heard
a thump nearby.
Without another thought about their appetites,
the siblings jumped up from the table and quickly began searching for their
mother. Reuben waved over to Rohane, who ran over to his side. "What's wrong?"
His elder brother pointed wordlessly at someone's
body lying on the floor, clutching a small piece of paper in her paw. It was
their mother, and she wasn't moving an inch. Her face was even more tearstained
than theirs, and had a look of utter torture, as if the female white Blumaroo
was dreaming of something extremely horrid, or was reliving the arrival of the
worst news in her life.
"Get Li's mother," said Reuben swiftly, patting
his own mother's shoulder. "She's the resident healer of Trestin, remember?"
Rohane obliged, and dashed out the door as fast
as his legs could carry him. The sky was totally starless, and was so pitch
black that if it weren't for the lights in the windows of their neighbors, Reynold's
younger son wouldn't have found his way around the village at nighttime. At
last he got to the door of Liwanag's family and knocked, three hard knocks.
A sleepy-looking yellow Aisha opened the door.
"Ah, you must be Li's little chum, one of the sons of Mel?"
"Yes, sir," he politely answered. "We would like
to alert her mother of an emergency situation back at our house."
He nodded, and turned to call someone in a loud,
piercing voice. "Tala? Tala, someone's looking for you. Grab your stuff; this
looks like something big. What? Yeah, he is."
After a few moments, a tall, slightly frantic
red Aisha who bore a striking resemblance to Li walked to the doorway. "Why
hello Rohane," she said cheerfully. "What seems to be the problem?"
"Our mother," he answered shortly. "She's not
getting up or moving from her bed and we need you to help us." No sooner were
the statements out of his mouth, Tala quickened her pace and in no time at all,
they were back at his house, and they found Reuben standing by the door of Melissa's
bedroom. He gestured towards the door, and the healer stepped inside.
"I think she's just in a stupefied state," said
the older red Aisha, kneeling down beside the bed where the siblings' mother
lay. "Has anything happened to her in the past few hours or days?"
The eldest son began to explain. "We just got
the news about our father." His lower lip quivered slightly. "He's…uh…not coming
back. And then we all cried and stuff, but she wouldn't stop, even though we
did. Then she went into her room to go to bed, after which we heard her fall
to the floor."
"I see. Well, I think I got the problem. When
your mother probably heard the terrible information, I guess it was too much
for her to take. I mean, I've known them both ever since we were young, and
they shared a close friendship together. So I guess the loss of Reynold was
quite a load for her to handle. It's like a really bad case of sadness, and
my only advice would be for her to have a little rest as she adjusts. Perhaps
during her little slumber, she had a nightmare or two as well. Oh, these two
chums were like siblings." She closed the door behind her as she departed Melissa's
"Is that all?" asked Rohane anxiously.
"Oh, yes. That's all. Mel is just going through
a hard time." Tala winked at the two brothers and walked off towards the door.
"If anything else happens, be sure to call on me."
That left Reuben and Rohane standing outside
their mother's door.
"Mother's in a right state," said the white Blumaroo
as he whipped out his blanket and sat on the cot inside his younger sibling's
"I know," said the owner of the bedroom they
shared for the moment. "At first I was so scared that she might…might…"
"Like what happened to our father?"
"It's best not to think about it," said Reuben,
patting Rohane on the shoulder.
They sat in stunned silence for a while, deep
in thought. It was so quiet that it seemed to ring in their ears louder than
the roar of the rainy night when they were beside the large tree.
"I can't take it," whispered the yellow Blumaroo,
lying on his back on his bed and staring up at the ceiling. "First Father is
gone, and now Mother's in a fix. This is too much. What's next, we lose each
other just when we were getting used to spending time together instead of trying
to beat each other out?"
Reuben shook his head. "No. We're in this together,
no matter what happens. That was then; this is now. We're no longer the two
brothers who always want to beat the stuffing out of each other." He paused.
"Still, I can't take it either. I feel as if our lives are crumbling all of
"And the thought of her spending the night alone
in her state is already enough to make me go insane," said Rohane, sitting up
and glancing at his sibling, who was as worried as he was. "Do you think we
should spend the night with her just so she could feel better? Perhaps it'll
help her in her time of need. Remember when she'd often sleep with us when we
were sick or when we were sad? It's our turn."
"You're right," said his older brother. "But
we only have one cot - how are you going to sleep in there?"
He shrugged. "I'll just make do with a blanket
over the floor."
The white Blumaroo raised an eyebrow. "That's
going to be very uncomfortable. You could wake up with a sore back tomorrow
"Better a sore back than the thought of Mother
all alone haunting my brain, Reuben. Let's go."
Reuben nodded, and picked up his pillow and blanket.
He then started folding the cot bed so it was easier to carry, and when the
pair was all set, they trooped out of Rohane's room and walked over to Melissa's.
As they entered the bedroom, they saw that the place was dim, and her supine
figure was quite visible in the darkness. As quietly as possible, the siblings
set up their sleeping equipment on the floor.
"I just hope this works," said the male white
"Well, it might not exactly work, as in take
away all the pain, but at least take away SOME of the pain," said his younger
brother. "Li's mother said that since our mother has lost someone near and dear
to her, it'll take a long time for her to recover."
Flashing an impressed grin, Reuben said, "You're
not just pretty smart - you're REALLY smart for a little sibling. Good night,
and hope you don't get a sore back from sleeping on the floor."
"Good night, and I'm sure I can take the sore
back tomorrow," said Rohane, smiling back. Unlike the evening after the tree
incident, it took some time for the two to fall into a deep slumber, because
of their mother's predicament plaguing their minds and making them even sadder
and more worried than usual.
To be continued...